Have you ever looked at your life and wondered, “What am I doing?” Have you felt confused, lost, or distraught for seemingly no reason, but you still can’t seem to shake it? Have you ever felt stuck in a rut with no way out?
Welcome to your 20s.
Land of the (hopefully not eternally), lost and confused.
Coming from a former know-it-all, overachiever, before my post-graduate life started I could have positively told you that I had never experienced any of the aforementioned feelings. How lucky I was, blissfully trapped in my perfect, pristine, little bubble. My biggest concerns consisted of landing big name internships and believing I was more accomplished than everyone else. Yes, I was that person. I just didn’t know it.
My life then, seems so far away now. Even though it’s only been a year, I recall it like the memory of a thirteenth birthday. You know the one. You had a super cool pool party, everyone came, but alas some awful girl, probably named Danielle or Jessica, stole your crush right in front of you, at your own party!
You’ve got feelings about it still, but presently they seem trivial and distant. Plus you probably realized later that people couldn’t be stolen.
Little did I know how complicated life would get when I had to be a “real person.” From the days of thirteenth birthday parties, to late night parties off campus and all-nighters in the library, it all seems so simple looking back.
After graduating last May, great things started happening very quickly for me. I decided I wanted to be an actor. You’re probably thinking, ‘oh how tragic.’ No, that’s not the great thing that happened.
Thanks for the support… really.
I immediately got signed to a top agency that believed in me, wanted to see me achieve, and said that things would happen for me. I felt invincible at first. Industry professionals started telling me how talented I was and how I was “going places.”For a semi-neurotic, chronic overachiever, this was the greatest drug of all time… until the pace of adult life set in.
Nobody tells you about how life seems to slow down when you no longer have achievements marked in increments of one to six months.
I was holding my expectations higher and higher, not realizing that I was beginning to set the bar at unrealistically high heights. I didn’t stop to think that the higher I set this bar, the further I could be thrown when things eventually took a left turn. The hard left I experienced was a necessary turn that took me in a more positive direction, but it was one I did not see coming and I wasn’t holding on tight enough.
Lesson of the year: life never happens according to your plans.
The difference between the life I knew then, and the life I now lead, is that in school I was given a platform and pathways, created to help me achieve. Every goal and achievement was compared to others immediately, and measured in semesters.
What I had not realized is that when you enter “the real world,” that job is left entirely up to you, especially if you pursue a career that has no pre-determined roadmap. You determine the timeline of events, congratulating yourself on the small successes and larger ones alike, in addition to staying on track.
Once I realized that these were now my responsibilities, everything started to balance out again, and I regained control of the car. In your early to mid 20s that car feels more like a go-cart with one rickety, derailed wheel, but eventually you figure out how exactly to drive the damn thing and you can more easily stay on course.
Your 20s are also a time for passion, freedom, minimal commitment and exploration! Despite all of the stress, confusion and figuring it out, make sure to leave room for fun and trying new things.
Enjoy the ride!